I am so excited to share that I am a part of the Six Goodbyes We Never Said blog tour! It comes out tomorrow (yay!) and for my stop, I am sharing my review of the book. Click here to read the synopsis on Goodreads and to add it to your TBR.
*Thank you to Wednesday Books for providing me with an ARC of this book. Some parts may be different as I did not read the final book. Please know that all of the expressed thoughts are my honest opinions.
I adored Six Goodbyes We Never Said! It is full of #ownvoices representation, emotional scenes, and growth. The writing was beautiful, and I enjoyed every page.
#ownvoices books have begun to appear more and more often on bookshelves, and I couldn’t be happier. For those unfamiliar with #ownvoices, it was “created by Corinne Duyvis to highlight books that are written by an author that shares a marginalized identity with the protagonist” (Bookriot). In Six Goodbyes We Never Said, Naima has complex OCD and GAD and Dew has social anxiety, all of which Ganger has. From the beginning, it is clear to see the influence that these disorders have on the characters.
“...so I can properly pinch my toes between them.
Tap my nose. Tap my nose. Tap my nose.
Tap my nose. Tap my nose.
Tap my nose.
Click my tongue. Click my tongue. Click my tongue.
Click my tongue. Click my tongue.
Click my tongue.
Flick my thumbnail. Flick my thumbnail. Flick my thumbnail.
Flick my thumbnail. Flick my thumbnail.
Flick my thumbnail.
As someone without these disorders, I was able to understand better what someone’s life could be like with complex OCD and GAD. And that’s one of the beauties of #ownvoices: to help others further understand different marginalized identities. Mentions of Naima’s tics also remain constant throughout the book. The mention of the tics are at the beginning, middle, and end; they don’t just disappear after the first couple of chapters.
What I appreciated in Six Goodbyes We Never Said is that the MCs' goal isn’t to be in a relationship. Okay, I take that back. Honestly, Dew had a stalker-like obsession with Naima for a good half of the book. It was quite creepy. But, it does get better, thankfully. Like the book’s description says it “is no love story. If you ask Naima, it’s not even a like story.” While I still love a bit of romance in contemporary books, I value more the characters and their own personal struggles and triumphs.
The book was also an emotional rollercoaster for me. I will admit that I do tend to get super attached to characters, so maybe that’s the reason why I went through so many emotions. But there were moments where I felt myself tear up, mainly when Naima is reflecting on her father and all the things she wishes she did differently. There were some heart-warming scenes and moments where I laughed a bit. It is a story about grief, so the characters, of course, are struggling to make sense of life without their parent(s). I noticed the underlying theme of the MCs’ sorrow throughout the entire book, and how it only somewhat began to decrease as the story continued.
Another aspect that I adored was all of the growth throughout the story. It was hard to notice at first, but by the time I finished the book, it was apparent. There was also a lot of healing and acceptance. In the story, both MCs have lost their parent(s) and are dealing with raw grief. The growth moment that made me say “awwww” the most was near the end when Dew is with his foster sister Faith. There is such a sweet moment between the two, and my heart was so happy! Throughout the book, Faith had trouble fitting in and for her to feel confident in her own skin made me incredibly happy. There’s another scene with Naima and someone else that warmed my heart. It was evident that it made Naima somewhat uncomfortable, but she still did it because she recognized how important the other person was. Naima and Dew had a relationship like that in Since You’ve Been Gone. In that book, the MC’s friend leaves her a list of tasks/dares so the MC can get out of her comfort zone. Dew and Naima work together to heal and conquer their smaller fears, which was impressive to watch.
I only had one or two small issues with the story. One is more of an annoyance at a character and the other one is more about the side characters. In the story, Dew suddenly loses his parents. In the parts with Dew’s perspective, he often likes to quote people, especially his parents. I imagine that this is a character choice and one of Dew’s way to handle grief, but it did get really repetitive at points. I don’t think it is an issue, rather more of a slight annoyance. The main problem, which still isn’t too much of a problem, is that the side characters felt underdeveloped. I felt as if I wasn’t able to connect with them even though they were the MCs’ parents and friends and co-workers. I know that they aren’t the point of the story, but I would have maybe enjoyed learning more about Dew’s adoptive parents and why they wanted to adopt him.
To conclude, I couldn’t recommend Six Goodbyes We Never Said more! The writing was smooth and easy to read, and I appreciated the #ownvoices representation. It is so essential to have #ownvoices stories like this so others can better understand what living with some of these disorders is like. One of my favorite parts of the book was watching the characters grow. It was so interesting to watch how they began to heal from the tragedies and learn to adapt. There were small annoyances for me at points, but they didn't affect the story too much. I would highly recommend this book!
Thank you again to Wednesday Books for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour!